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Discipline

Recently, I've been writing here on the subjects of priorities and motivation. There's another component to productivity that I've failed to address, however, and that's discipline. It's something I've found myself mulling over more than once recently, but I think it first started with Randy Schmidt.

Randy—"the noun, not the adjective", as he tends to introduce himself—built a web app called Lose It or Lose It, a weight-loss program where your failures cost you real money. He's lost 80 pounds since he started it.

After LessConf, Randy was up by ten pounds from all the amazing food we ate that weekend in Atlanta. With his weigh-in on Thursday and $125 at stake, it would take an incredible amount of discipline to be able to reach his goal in just four days. He pulled it off with half a pound to spare. As I told him at the time, "Your discipline is inspiring." It has certainly had me rethinking all the things I've been compromising on lately.

It's so easy to get caught up in the mindset of "just one more" or "tomorrow I'll get back on track," but these are just the lies we tell ourselves so we can continue in our sins and bad habits. This same mindset is indicative of an addict, and I don't know what you would call the endless cycle of vice if not addiction.

While avoiding gluttony requires discipline, so does any sort of productivity. It takes more than priorities and motivation to be successful. It also takes perseverance and discipline, which requires breaking out of the cycle of excuses to reform your mind. You have to rid your life of negative habits so there's room to make new, positive ones.

As Paul said, we should be selective about the endeavors we choose to pursue:

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

— Philippians 4:8